Do you want to watch your favorite sports when traveling? You may find that your usual sports streaming services are geo-restricted. Learn how to unblock these services with the best VPNs for streaming sports abroad.
If you’re a sports fan, you’re probably signed up for at least one sports streaming service. These allow you to live-stream your favorite sports wherever you are — at work, at home, or on the go. If you’re abroad, however, you may find that you’re unable to connect to your usual sports streaming services. Due to broadcast rights issues, most sports providers block users from watching their content when they’re abroad.
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can pass your internet traffic through a server in another country, making it appear as if you’re browsing from that location. Doing so allows you to bypass the geo-blocking restrictions and watch your sports streaming services as if you were still at home. You can also use a VPN to watch streaming sports services from other countries or to watch matches that you may not be able to access at home, such as those of your local team. Sports streaming services aren’t too keen on people trying to get around their geo-restrictions, however, and many try to block VPN traffic when they spot it.
Thankfully, good VPNs, including the ones on this list, are able to get around these blocks. In this guide, I’ll be taking a closer look at some of the best sports streaming VPNs but if you’re in a hurry, here is a quick breakdown of my shortlist:
Best VPNs for streaming sports abroad:
- NordVPN: My top pick VPN for streaming sports abroad. Fast speeds and the ability to unblock popular sports streaming sites, coupled with strong security and no-log privacy. There’s a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: A great value option, Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections, along with fast speeds and the ability to watch ESPN+ and other sports streaming platforms.
- IPVanish: Fast speeds and unmetered connections, so you can stream live sports on as many devices as you want. Good security and privacy.
- PrivateVPN: A strong privacy focus combined with fast speeds and the ability to unblock sports streaming services and other platforms.
- Hotspot Shield: A proprietary protocol ensures lightning speeds and the ability to bypass VPN restrictions. Also offers a free trial.
The best VPNs for streaming sports abroad
There are plenty of VPNs out there to choose from but not all of them are ideally suited for streaming sports. That’s why I used the following set of criteria when choosing the best VPNs for streaming sports abroad:
- Ability to unblock most popular streaming sports services
- Fast speeds so you can stream in HD without painful buffering
- A large selection of servers so you can access a range of streaming services
- Strong encryption and good security features
Here are the best VPNs for streaming sports abroad:
NordVPN is my top choice if you’re looking for a VPN for streaming sports abroad. It has a huge range of servers with more than 5,300 servers in 59 countries. It offers consistently fast speeds, making it perfect for streaming sports without frustrating buffering right in the middle of the action. NordVPN is also able to unblock the most popular sports streaming services, including ESPN+, NBC, and DAZN.
NordVPN is highly secure. It uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to keep your data safe. It also offers IPv6 and DNS leak protection, and there’s a kill switch that will automatically cut off your access to the network if your connection to the VPN is lost.
NordVPN offers apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Further, each account permits up to six simultaneous connections, giving your whole family freedom to watch sports (and other content) without restrictions.
- Unblocks popular sports streaming sites
- Fast speeds for streaming without buffering
- Wide choice of servers
- Accepts multiple forms of cryptocurrency
- Desktop apps aren’t as user-friendly as some competitors
BEST VPN FOR STREAMING SPORTS ABROAD:NordVPN is my top choice for streaming sports abroad. It offers fast speeds, a wide choice of servers, and the ability to unblock popular streaming sites. You can try it out with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark is an excellent choice for large households who want to stream different sports all at the same time. That’s because Surfshark offers exceptional speeds and unlimited simultaneous connections, making it great value for money compared to other providers. There are plenty of servers to choose from, with over 3,200 in 65 countries.
Security on Surfshark is formidable, with AES 256-bit encryption, IPv6 and DNS leak protection, and a kill switch (available on all platforms) as standard. To take things even further, you can use Surfshark’s “Double VPN” functionality to pass your traffic through two different servers, adding an additional layer of encryption to your traffic.
Most importantly, Surfshark is able to provide access to the most popular sports streaming services abroad, including ESPN+ and Kayo. SurfShark apps are available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, but it can also be configured to work with some routers.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Unblocks major sports streaming sites
- Double VPN for additional security
- Good speeds for streaming
- No option for telephone support
- Slow to connect sometimes
BEST VALUE PICK:Surfshark offers great value as you can have unlimited devices all using the VPN at the same time. It offers fast speeds, zero-log privacy, and can unblock sports streaming sites. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN is a VPN that certainly lives up to its name, offering fast speeds that are ideal for streaming live sports. You can connect to more than 3,000 servers spread over 94 countries, with ExpressVPN unblocking sports streaming services like Sling TV and ESPN+.
ExpressVPN uses industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption, offers IPv6 and DNS leak protection, and has a kill switch that it calls “Network Lock” to stop unrestricted traffic from leaking when you disconnect to its servers. It also runs its own private, encrypted DNS on every server, adding additional leak protection.
ExpressVPN is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android devices, and you can have up to five simultaneous connections.
- Fast speeds for bufferless streaming
- Good choice of servers in more than 90 countries
- Unblocks popular sports streaming sites
- Not the most competitively-priced option
- Streaming servers are not labeled
FAST SPEEDS:ExpressVPN offers fast speeds and the ability to unblock major sports streaming services, making it the ideal choice if you’re looking to stream sports in HD quality without painful buffering. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost has a huge selection of servers, with over 7,100+ to choose from located in 91 countries. Most importantly, it offers dedicated servers optimized for specific streaming services. These include popular platforms such as Netflix and Disney+, but there are also dedicated servers for sports streaming services, including ESPN+ and NBC Sports.
There’s strong security on a CyberGhost connection, with AES 256-bit encryption as standard, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch available for the macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android apps. You can choose between OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard protocols, offering you flexibility on security vs speed.
CyberGhost apps are available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android users, and you can have up to seven connections at once.
- Huge selection of servers
- Dedicated servers for major sports streaming services
- Fast speeds
- Not as configurable as some rivals
- Doesn’t work in some countries such as China
EASY SPORTS STREAMING:CyberGhost makes it simple to stream your favorite sports platforms. It’s easy to set up and has dedicated servers optimized for streaming specific services such as ESPN+. There’s a 45-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish is another VPN that, like Surfshark, allows you to have as many devices connected at the same time as you like with no restrictions. If you regularly have many devices online at the same time, this can be a real game-changer. You can select from over 1,600 servers in more than 75 locations, with IPVanish’s servers able to unblock popular sports streaming services.
There’s strong security, too, with AES 256-bit encryption across the board, as well as DNS and IP leak protection. IPVanish’s kill switch feature is available for macOS, Windows, and Android users, but it’s not available for iPhone and iPad users. This shouldn’t matter too much for sports viewing but, if you lose connection too many times and switch IPs repeatedly, your sports service might restrict your access.
Your privacy is protected by a no-log policy that doesn’t keep a record of any traffic, connection, or activity data. This is important, as IPVanish is based in the US and so could otherwise be compelled by the authorities to hand over any information that it does store.
IPVanish has apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS users, giving you full coverage on mobile and desktop devices. There’s no dedicated Linux app, but there are detailed instructions for how to set up IPVanish on the most popular Linux distributions if needed.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections ideal for heavy use
- Unblocks sports streaming services
- Good speeds for HD streaming
- No kill switch on iOS
- Not the widest selection of servers
VPN FOR LARGER HOUSEHOLDS:IPVanish offers unlimited simultaneous connections meaning that you can have as many devices online at once as you like. It offers fast speeds for HD streaming and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PrivateVPN has the smallest number of servers on this list, but those 200+ servers are still spread across over 60 different countries, so you should always be able to find a server in the location that you need. It provides fast speeds for streaming and is able to unlock sports streaming services from major providers like DAZN and Eurosport.
With AES 256-bit encryption as standard and IPv6 and DNS leak protection, PrivateVPN is a secure option. It offers a kill switch to halt your traffic if you disconnect, too, but this feature is only available on the Windows app. If you’re on Windows, the kill switch is highly configurable—you can specify which apps should close when your VPN connection drops and which can remain open.
PrivateVPN is very strong on privacy, with a no-log policy that ensures that only an email address and your payment details are stored by the provider. You can also opt to pay by Bitcoin if you prefer your payment details to remain completely anonymous.
PrivateVPN is available on all major platforms, with apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Although there’s no Linux app, there is a clear step-by-step guide for setting up PrivateVPN on Linux. You can have up to six simultaneous connections, giving you coverage for the whole family.
- Fast speeds for HD streaming
- Unblocks popular sports streaming sites
- Strong privacy focus
- A smaller selection of servers than many rivals
- No kill switch for Mac or mobile
GREAT VPN FOR PRIVACY:PrivateVPN offers fast speeds and can unblock popular sports streaming sites to its ideal for streaming HD sports. There’s also a strong privacy focus and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Hotspot Shield offers great speeds and the ability to bypass VPN restrictions. This is thanks to a proprietary VPN protocol it uses that isn’t available with any other VPN called Catapult Hydra. It offers more than 1,800 servers in over 80 countries and is able to access sports streaming services like Eurosport, NBC Sports, and Sky Sports.
Hotspot Shield is compatible with both AES 128-bit and AES 256-bit encryption, but it uses the slightly weaker AES 128-bit encryption by default. This is still a pretty strong encryption algorithm, but not quite as strong as that used by the other VPNs on this list. There is a kill switch feature, but like PrivateVPN and some of the other providers, it’s only available for Windows users.
There are Hotspot Shield apps available for Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS, and you can have up to five simultaneous connections. There’s also a 7-day free trial, allowing you to trial the service with your favorite sports streaming services first before you purchase a subscription.
- The proprietary protocol offers blazing speeds
- Can unblock popular streaming services
- Compatible with most devices and OS
- 7-day free trial
- Slightly weaker encryption
- No Bitcoin payment options
GREAT VPN FOR NEWBIES:Hotspot Shield offers excellent speeds for streaming HD sports, and is able to unblock popular streaming services. With a 7-day free trial as well as a 45-day money-back guarantee, it’s a great choice for those dipping their toes into the VPN waters for the first time.
Methodology: How I find the best VPNs for sports streaming abroad
It’s no secret that not all VPNs are the same, and some are much better quality than others. I thoroughly review each VPN before recommending it to my readers. Here are some of the criteria I used when looking at VPNs for streaming sports abroad:
- Server locations – Wherever your home country is, you should still be able to watch your local team while traveling abroad. This means that each VPN needs to have worldwide server coverage and plenty of options to connect to.
- Speeds – Streaming sports takes a lot of bandwidth, so a VPN needs to be able to handle this and maintain great speeds throughout. I put each VPN through a speed test, including HD video streaming.
- Security – If you’re abroad, you’re probably using a public wifi network at a hotel or an airport. This can be a huge security risk. I check that each VPN has specific tools for privacy and security, including a network kill switch and high levels of encryption.
- Unblocking ability – Sports streaming platforms are becoming harder to access abroad, with geo-restrictions becoming smarter than ever. Each VPN is tested for its unblocking ability and is guaranteed to work with the most popular sports streaming sites.
Want to know more about how I review VPNs on this site? Check out my testing methodology for more detailed information.
Sports streaming VPN FAQs
Can I use a free VPN for streaming sports abroad?
While you could use a VPN for streaming sports abroad, it isn’t likely to work. Some free VPNs will be unable to unblock VPN restrictions used by sports streaming services, but you might get lucky with one or two providers. The question, really, is whether this is safe.
All VPN companies have overheads, including wages, server costs, and more. They also want to turn a profit. Since free VPNs aren’t making money from subscriptions, free VPN providers have to find the cash elsewhere. Some do so by using intrusive advertising. Others may share your bandwidth with other users, sell your data to third parties, or even install malware (like cryptocurrency miners).
VPNs like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and others are reasonably priced and regularly offer significant discounts. For an affordable price, you get high-quality services that beat geo-blocking. More importantly, you gain the peace of mind that your VPN isn’t trying to make money out of you in ways you don’t even know about.
Why can’t I access my sports streaming subscriptions when I’m abroad?
Most sports streaming services will block you if you try to access or stream content from a different country. This is all down to broadcasting rights, which are sold off in big (and very expensive) blocks to different providers in different countries.
If your provider hasn’t got the rights to show your favorite sports in the country you're visiting, they aren’t legally allowed to show it or stream it. To stop this from happening, it blocks any attempts to stream from other countries, using your IP address as the identifier to determine if you’re in the right location or not.
The good news is that you can get around this and still access the streaming services that you pay for, even when you’re abroad. By using a VPN, you can make it appear as if you’re accessing the services from home rather than abroad, and you’ll be able to watch all of your streaming sports as usual.
Why can’t I watch my local team online in another country?
It’s a frustrating truth that many of us are unable to watch some of our local team’s games online when people in other countries are able to watch them.
That’s because, in many countries, there is a limit on the number of local games that can be broadcast to try to encourage people to go to watch the matches in person. In the UK, for example, only certain Premier League games will be broadcast each match week, but people outside of the UK can stream any of the matches they want.
The good news is that, if you have a good VPN, you can access foreign sports streaming services and watch games that would not otherwise be aired at home. By passing your traffic through a server in the relevant country, you can access services such as NBC Sports in America or Fox Sports Brazil that have the rights to show those sports, such as UK Premier League games.
Is it legal to stream sports using a VPN?
Since sports streaming services aren’t allowed to stream sports in countries where it may not have the rights, these services are understandably keen to avoid people getting around those restrictions using a VPN. Many services will try to block traffic that appears to be coming through a VPN.
Most major VPN providers, including NordVPN and ExpressVPN, are able to bypass those restrictions and allow you to access streaming services when you’re abroad---as long as you pick the right servers.
Although these streaming services don’t want you to use a VPN to access their services, it’s not illegal to do so in most countries. It’s always a good idea to check the laws of any country you’re visiting before using a VPN, however, as some countries don’t allow it. Using a VPN to stream sports abroad may be against the terms of service of some streaming services, however. Whilst unlikely, it may be the case that your account will be suspended if you are found to be breaching the terms of service.
There’s nothing to stop you from setting up a new account, however---a VPN will be able to help you bypass any restrictions on your IP address, but you may need a different payment card or billing address to do so.
Note: I do not provide legal advice, and nothing in this article should be considered legal advice. Conduct your own research if you are unsure about the legality of your internet activity or VPNs in your location.
- The best VPNs for streaming sports abroad
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. IPVanish
- 6. PrivateVPN
- 7. Hotspot Shield
- Methodology: How I find the best VPNs for sports streaming abroad
- Sports streaming VPN FAQs
- Can I use a free VPN for streaming sports abroad?
- Why can’t I access my sports streaming subscriptions when I’m abroad?
- Why can’t I watch my local team online in another country?
- Is it legal to stream sports using a VPN?